Right from the very outset, the Police Service has served and protected the public with impartiality and independence from any Political influence: this is one of the reasons that our Police Service is so respected around the world. Similarly the Police & Crime Commissioner must represent the interests of local people as well as safe guarding and respecting the operational independence of our Police Service under the direction of the Chief Constable. The Chief Constable, in turn, will be accountable to the publicly elected Commissioner.
I joined the Police Service in 1984 to serve our community and combat crime; my experience of the last 28 years has only served to strengthen that resolve. I am Independent of any political or local authority influence and I have the strength of character to call to account the decisions and actions of those in authority who fall short of public expectation. I will at all times protect the interests of the public of Cleveland without fear or favour.
There has been considerable focus on the various aspects of policing: crime prevention, reduction, rehabilitation of offenders etc. these are all very important issues and are at the heart of any effective, multi-faceted law enforcement strategy. However, one important element of the fight against crime that seems to have largely escaped serious attention by candidates for election to the post of PCC is the police themselves. I have said many times in the past; “there is no doubt that the great majority of our police officers are decent, dedicated and hardworking Police Officers”: but there is always room for improvement. What I propose to do, on behalf of the public of Cleveland, is ensure that the Chief Constable:
- Accepts nothing but exemplary professional conduct from all officers and staff.
- Promotes officers and staff purely on merit and ability
- Combats inefficiency thereby releasing more officers onto the streets.
- Rigorously enforces the Police Code of Conduct
- Reduces expense claims of senior officers thereby releasing more money for essential services. In these difficult economic times all hardworking people are being asked to “tighten their belts”: In my view this will apply to everyone. Spending of taxpayer’s money should be done wisely and sparingly. I will state here and now, that if I am elected, I will not make any claim for personal expenses – that includes meals, refreshments, travel or accommodation throughout my term in office.
- Review all private sector contracts so as to ensure that the taxpayer is getting value for money AND an efficient and professional service. Furthermore all contracts will remain under constant performance review.
By setting these principles in place, together with the chief Constable, we will ensure that Cleveland Police is the professional, effective and respected police service that the people of Cleveland deserve. These principles of fairness and high standards will also have a direct and positive impact on the morale of all Cleveland Police officers and staff: Better morale will result in an efficient and more effective police service.
After full consultation and with on-going involvement of the general public, together with vital strategic input from the Chief Constable, I will set key policing priorities and agree the annual police budget & Council Tax Precept. This will be crystallised in a clear concise operational plan and an audited report on progress and achievements will be published annually with specific emphasis on transparency and the repairing of the damaged reputation of Cleveland Police. My mission mandate is simple: To work with the Chief Constable and deliver the most cost effective and efficient Police Service in England and Wales. Electing a candidate who is totally independent from local authority or political bias provides a unique opportunity to deliver a mandate that every member of the public in Cleveland can be truly proud of.
My priorities for the “Policing Plan” will be a multi agency and multi-faceted approach towards:
- Crime prevention and reducing the fear of crime, thereby improving the quality of life for everyone living in Cleveland.
- Adopting a “Challenge – Educate – Enforce” approach towards any and all forms of anti-social behaviour
- Ensuring that the rights of victims are always at the forefront in the Criminal Justice process
- Innovative and effective rehabilitation programmes to reduce re-offending rates.
- Always taking into account the requirements and concerns of the “Cleveland Community” in the decision-making and the policy directing processes.
- Lobbying for the appropriate sentencing of offenders.
Your elected Police and Crime Commissioner must be strong on principles, fearless in fighting for justice and representing the interests of the public whilst remaining independent and free from the influence of political party or local authority politics: I know I can deliver on each of these qualities.
I will work with the Chief Constable and all other agencies without fear or favour and with only one agenda – to improve the quality of life for all who live, visit or work in Cleveland – our “Cleveland Community”: That is my commitment to you.